Doesn’t Quite Add Up

| Cache Creek, CA, USA | Working | August 13, 2013

(I am a volunteer at an endurance ride (50-mile horse race). Every 12.5 miles, the horses must pass a vet check, including having their pulse and respiration down to a certain number. Once they are down, they must wait a certain amount of time before they leave and continue the race. I am a female in my 20’s, as are all the other volunteers checking pulse and respiration.)

Me: “Okay, your horse is well below 60. You can leave here at 8:53.”

(I hand a slip of paper with times written to rider.)

Rider: “Great, thanks!”

Volunteer #1: “How did you do that so fast?”

Me: “Well, I was watching the second hand on my watch, and the horse’s heartbeat was much slower than the ticks, so I didn’t really need to count the actual beats.”

Volunteer #1: “No! How did you figure out the time so quick?”

Me: “Um, it was 8:38 when I checked her. Hold time is 15 minutes.”

Volunteer #1: “But that’s HARD! How did you figure it out so fast!?”

Me: “I’m good at math. I only had to add 15 minutes.”

Volunteer #1: “Yeah, but that’s difficult! What is your trick for doing it so fast?”

Me: “Um… I add 15.”

Volunteer #1: “You must have a trick for doing it!”

Me: “No, not really.”

(Volunteer #2 has finished checking a horse.)

Volunteer #2: “Hey, it’s 8:41. What’s the out time?”

Me: “8:56.”

Volunteer #2: “Thanks! I’ve been just writing down the first time and sending them on to the guys to get the out time. They’re good at math since they are guys! What is your trick?”

Volunteer #1: “Wow, you did that so fast! Seriously, what is your trick?”

Me: “Really? All you have to do is add 15 minutes to the time.”

Volunteer #1 and #2: “But that’s HARD! What’s your secret?”

Me: “I studied hard in school. I actually got the highest grade in my AP Calculus and Physics classes in high school.”

Volunteer #1: “But you’re a GIRL!”

Me: “Yes. Yes, I am.”

Volunteer #2: “We should just let the boys do all the math.”

Me: “No. We are supposed to do it. They are just supposed to check that the riders aren’t leaving early, and we are supposed to have both numbers written down. It’s not that difficult.”

Volunteer #1 and #2: “Whatever.”

(After that conversation, every single time that the volunteers check a horse, they ask me for the out time. They are shocked by my math skills; I am shocked by the absolute failure of our education system. Both of them are working on Master’s degrees!)

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